Judicial Watch sues for White House visitor logs
The nonprofit conservative group Judicial Watch filed suit this week to get access to White House visitor logs from earlier this year.
The Secret Service has denied requests from the group and msnbc.com, which want to see who might be influencing public policy issues such as health care and the economy (see story by msnbc.com and a summary by the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press).
While the White House now publishes select visitor logs online, Judicial Watch and journalists want access to logs from January through August. The Obama Administration has said it will release the logs voluntarily and that release is discretionary, even though several courts have ruled that they shall be made public.
If the Obama Administration truly values transparency, as promised on the president’s first day of office and through the Open Government Directive issued this week, then perhaps it might choose to follow those words with action and make the records public (as courts have ruled; It would be nice if the president followed the rule of law, too). Or is there something to hide? The public won’t know unless the records are released. Transparency dispels rumors and mistrust. Truth undercuts critics and builds public confidence.
Unfettered access to those in power, a push for government transparency and a vigorous defense of the First Amendment are perhaps more important now than ever before. Join us as we fight for the public’s right to know as an SPJ Supporter. Or, if you’re a journalist, we welcome you to stand with us as a Professional, Student or Retired Member.